It must be galling for all the smartphone and UMPC manufacturers who have tried so desperately to slim their products down into wafer-thin tablets, when actually what’s needed is a huge, ergonomically-bulging game-controller-on-steroids. At least, that’s what designer of the AlphaGrip Handheld Computer believes; their entry for the Next-Gen PC Design competition is reminiscent of an XBox 360 controller only with masses of buttons and chording keys underneath for text entry. There’s even a flip-up touchscreen display, flanked by – you guessed it – more controls.
Typing, the theory goes, can reach speeds of 250-350 key presses or 50-70 words per minute, you can learn it in a third of the time taken to get to grips with QWERTY, and it’s 200-percent more productive than a normal thumb keyboard. Impressive claims, but is it only me who goes slightly cross-eyed just looking at the AlphaGrip? It’s envisaged as a take-anywhere device, but dimensions of 3.5 x 3.5 x 2.5-inches when closed could make transporting it more of a struggle than, say, an HTC Shift.
Of course, it’s just a concept at present, and one – if I may be so bold – that will likely stay that way, no matter how well it does in the competition. No matter what the productivity increases (and the figure of 200 to 500-percent more productive is summoned up from somewhere), the design, bulk and learning-curve (perceived or otherwise) would put people off.